“A place i’th’ story”. Narrative, meaning and identity in Antony and Cleopatra


Antony and Cleopatra is one of several plays in the Shakespearean canon that evince a particularly acute interest in the role played by narrative in giving shape and significance to experience and contributing to the formation of individual identity. Not only does the drama situate itself within a matrix of pre-existent literary narratives which frequently diverge from one another in the interpretations they give to events, but the major characters within it tend to define themselves in relation to stories of mythological origin which are also often highly ambivalent in their implications. While dramatizing the mechanisms through which the various kinds of story in which the individual’s sense of self is vested are elaborated, Shakespeare’s play also illustrates some of the ways in which these narratives can come into collision with one another to the detriment of a selfhood constructed by such means.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v36p137

Keywords: Shakespeare; Antony and Cleopatra; narrative; myth.


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